Friday, September 04, 2015

Contribution to a debate on clergy robes

From the General Synod Reports of Proceedings, July 2014, pp. 171-2:

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Taylor (Derby):  It is with a heavy heart that I stand to
oppose this, not least because it means standing against my Archdeacon, but also because I think, as Bishop Pete does, that this is asking the right questions. I do not think it is asking all of the right questions, however. I think what Bishop Michael Perham said earlier about the different levels of protection in different circumstances would be appropriate. So, to coin a phrase, I agree with Bishop Michael. 

It is very important in whatever we produce on this - and it is quite right that a dead letter needs revision - that it is not left to the whim of the minister: I do not feel like wearing a cassock, it is a bit warm today. It must be about context, about mission and about liturgical appropriateness, and so something that stops it being about the whim of the minister is really important. You do not want folk turning up for a wedding to discover, “I am not the kind of minister that wears robes, so I am terribly sorry, you expected me to dress for the occasion but you take me as I am.” That is a pastorally inappropriate and a missionally inappropriate thing. There needs to be some safeguards that allow us to be properly missional in a variety of contexts, recognising that wherever we minister there probably will not be one rule at all times. Mixed economy is not just across the Church of England, it is also within the day-to-day life of most of us in ministry, whether that is lay ministry or ordained ministry. So, with a heavy heart, I ask you to oppose this amendment.

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